Adulteration of milk, bevarages rampant

AHMEDABAD:

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If you think you the ghee you bought at the store will bring you all kinds of health benefits, think again. With widespread adulteration, what you actually get may be a substandard product that does more harm than good. At least so says data from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC)’s health department, according to which samples of around 40 different food products were declared either unsafe, misbranded or substandard.

Products commonly found to be adulterated include milk products such as ghee, paneer and mawa, along with spices, oil, beverages, juices, aam ras and others. Despite stringent laws against food adulteration, season after season the number of adulteration cases have only increased. Moreover, the data also indicates that the number of repeat offenders is not low.

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What is worse is that one can’t easily identify adulterated products from genuine ones. Adulteration cuts production costs and boosts profit margins. “Products are adulterated either by mixing them with cheaper substitutes, or old and expired products and even artificial colour or flavouring which may even be carcinogenic,” said Atul Soni, quality manager, public health laboratory, AMC.

Palmolein in ghee, synthetic dyes containing carcinogenic chemicals in chilli powder and sawdust in turmeric are some of common adulteratants. Another major issue is process hygiene not being maintained in manufacturing and packaging. Recently, some 16 manufacturers of ice candy, syrups, cold drinks and beverages came under the civic body’s scanner for this and suspicious samples were sent to the public health laboratory for testing.
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When civic authorities were asked about rampant adulteration of the same continuing year after year, they emphasized the need for stricter laws and reducing administrative delays. “If offending traders or manufacturing units are fined heavily and units are sealed till corrective action is taken, the situation may improve. Repeat offenders should be penalized heavily,” said Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer – health, AMC.

Court No. 6 of AMC penalized close to 30 offenders from January to March this year, said sources. Some of them committed the offence, i.e. manufacturing/selling unsafe food products as long as 14 years ago, in 2003!

 

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